Tales of Innocence Original Soundtrack
Tales of Innocence Original Soundtrack
December 19, 2007
Buy at CDJapan
The Tales series hasn’t always been of the highest quality when it comes to the music. Normally, Motoi Sakuraba and Shinji Tamura take up the composition, and they do, well, an okay job for the most part. The only time anyone else has composed for the main Tales series, it turned out to be an absolute masterpiece! I speak of the Tales of Legendia album here. So, when I heard that yet another composer from the Namco Sound Team would be scoring the next Tales game, I got very excited. Were we going to hear another masterpiece from a newcomer? I had VERY high expectations for this Kazuhiro Nakamura. He is credited only to the Time Crisis series as far as I know, and those soundtracks were pretty decent. So, how did he do? This album really disappointed me as a whole, but that doesn’t mean it is necessarily ‘bad’.
The album begins with a track that Nakamura had nothing to do with. It’s an amazing tribal vocal piece by KOKIA that really raises the bar in terms of opening themes for the series. Now we can get into the meat of the soundtrack. Tracks such as “The Scene of the Rocking Chair and the Cat” and “Break Through with the Sword” really made me attempt to absorb this album more, as their melodies and/or action somehow sparked my interest. The former of the two is a “conversation” scene theme in-game, and it seems to fit that role very well. The other piece is the normal battle theme. It seems to play off as a generic Tales battle theme, but I see a bit more in it. As far as the rest of the battle themes go, most of them are quite dull. “Break the Sword to Pieces” and “Before the Demise” are rather boring, especially if you take into consideration those are the normal boss and final boss themes, respectively. There just isn’t enough “oomph” in these pieces to warrant any kind of battle.
Now, that doesn’t mean everything on the album isn’t without merit. “This Advancement Will Not Be Stopped”, the overworld theme, is rather triumphant, and is exactly what I would want to hear in this type of track. While it is somewhat repetitive, it still fulfills it’s duty better than some of the other generic overworld themes I’ve heard in the past. Another very nice piece, which ironically, is another overworld theme, happens to be “Into the Blue Sky”. This piece still doesn’t beat out Sakuraba’s flying themes, but it does do an exceptional job at portraying the idea of carefree flight. The final dungeon theme, “Approaching the Summit”, reprises the main theme in a much more frantic tone. This track is also enjoyable to a certain extent.
So far, everything I’ve discussed has been rather samey. Now, let’s move on to the tracks that are a bit more off the beaten path. One of the most notable tracks here for me would be “Investigation of Vicissitude”. The intro of this song begins with a tribal drumbeat, and a synth flute of some kind taking up what appears to be the melody. The track is rather boring until the 0:28 mark, where strings accompany the percussion and an acoustic synth guitar takes over the main part of the melody. This section is again reprised towards the end of the piece, with a much more moving guitar line. For a track that starts off so strange, this one develops very nicely. Another track I feel is worth mentioning is “Sky Fantasia”. While it is rather uninteresting on most fronts, the layering of the harp and organ to create a very serene picture of the sky seems to work out flawlessly. Toward the end, the organ melody changes to something with a bit more desperation. This is one of my favorite cut scene themes from this game. Also, oddly enough, the organ sounds IDENTICAL to something Sakuraba would write.
The ending vocal theme, “Say Good-bye and Good Day” is one of the most emotional vocal pieces in the series thus far. The version on this album is shortened from the full version, but it still features all the key areas of the melody. While the majority of the song is played on acoustic guitar, electric guitar is still featured at times. The section at 2:11 is just heart wrenching. Everything drops out, and only the vocalist and a piano are featured. The vocalist is almost whispering here, and it gives a feeling that she may be crying. Just as fast as this section came in, the percussion comes back in and takes us back into the chorus of the song. This piece right here makes the whole album worth it in my opinion.
There isn’t a whole lot to be said about this album. If you are a fan of the Tales series of music, it’s still worth picking up. Nakamura did an OK job of trying to hold to Sakuraba’s “Tales of” style. While some may feel that is a good thing, I just feel it ruined the chance for us to see another spectacular Namco album release. I understand that was somewhat of a biased statement, and to clarify I will say this: This album is worth picking up if you wish to hear something a bit different, but still in Sakuraba’s range. If you are expecting something totally different such as the Tales of Legendia Original Soundtrack, stay away from this. One thing though: you MUST pick up the vocal single to this game. Both songs are incredible.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Bryan Matheny. Last modified on August 1, 2012.